1970 Hot Wheels Indy 500 Race Set

May 26, 2016 marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Logo for the 100th Indy 500.

Logo for the 100th Indy 500.

Adding to this tradition is Hot Wheels. Back in 1970, Mattel issued the Indy Team pak.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back and side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back and side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

It featured a 4 car box set of Hot Wheels’ open wheel cars.

Indy Team 4

Three of these cars ran at Indianapolis including the red Lotus Turbine which almost won the 1968 race (fuel shaft broke on lap 191 while in the lead), an aqua Shelby Turbine which almost won the 1967 race (transmission bearing broke on lap 196 while in the lead) and a light green Indy Eagle. Although Brabham Repcos competed at Indianapolis, the blue F1 model shown here ran in Formula One.

Today I’m going racing, Indy style, with a dual-lane Rod Runner oval track. This layout has 32 feet of orange track, 10 joiners, 1 dual-lane Rod Runner, two 180 degree dual-lane curves, 2 white trestles and a dual-lane lap counter.

Indy parts

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With the dual-lane lap counter we can run 20 lap races.

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For this open wheel race I am running two Winning Formula cars.

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Here’s what happened with this Indy race.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1970 Hot Wheels Indy Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Logo for the 99th running of the Indy 500.

Logo for the 99th running of the Indy 500.

1970 Hot Wheels Speedometer Race Set

Speed!

Box art - front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

When it comes to speed, supercars and high performance concept cars take center stage.

Today I’m putting 2 supercars and 2 concept cars to the test.

l to r: orange Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept Car, yellow '12 Acura NSX Concept Car, metal flake silver LaFerrari and lime green Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

l to r: orange Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept Car, yellow ’12 Acura NSX Concept Car, metal flake silver LaFerrari and lime green Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

And that test is all about speed. This is a race set where the 1970 dual-lane Speedometer tells us who is the winner.

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There is no finish gate. Whoever slams through the Speedometer with the fastest speed wins.

To generate the highest speed, I’m using a 1970 dual-lane Rod Runner with double rubber bands on each shifter.

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Here’s what happened…

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1970 Hot Wheels Speedometer Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Close up. Box art - side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Close up. Box art – side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Close up. Box art - side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Close up. Box art – side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1970 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1970 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1970 Hot Wheels Dual-Lane Rod Runner Basic Drag Set

When I was a kid, although stunting and circuit layouts were important, it was hard to beat straight forward drag racing for fun.

Dual-lane Rod Runner. 1970 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel. Inc.

Dual-lane Rod Runner. 1970 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel. Inc.

So, today I am taking a 1970 dual-lane Rod Runner, adding some track and sticking a finish gate at the end. Your basic track.

1970 Dual-lane Rod Runner instructions.

1970 Dual-lane Rod Runner instructions.

And to show this track in action, I’ve got 8 classic muscle cars ready to go.

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l to r: red ’70 AAR ‘Cuda, orange ’68 Barracuda Formula S, yellow ’71 Challenger, green ’69 Coronet Super Bee, light blue ’70 GTO Judge, teal ’69 Cougar Eliminator, purple ’69 Charger 500 and a black ’70 Buick GSX

Here’s a rip down the strip.

Yellow '71 Dodge Challenger vs green '69 Dodge Coronet Super Bee.

Yellow ’71 Dodge Challenger vs green ’69 Dodge Coronet Super Bee.

And...they're off!

And…they’re off!

Blasting down the track.

Blasting down the track.

Almost there....

Almost there….

The Challenger wins. This race is done.

The Challenger wins. This race is done.

Here’s a video of what happened when these 8 muscle cars got on the track.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1970 Hot Wheels dual-lane Rod Runner Basic Drag Set. It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

1969 Hot Wheels Super-Charger Grand Prix Race Set (part 2)

This is Hot Wheels’s biggest track set for 1969, the Super-Charger Grand Prix Race Set.

Box art - front with included cars visible. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front with included cars visible. Courtesy eBay.

There are a lot of track pieces.

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The layout is huge.

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Here’s the fully assembled race track.

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Time for some perspective. It’s 1969 and we are about to embark on “lap after lap” action. Just the year before, we experienced ground breaking gravity tracks from Hot Wheels first year of production. And, remember, the year before that we were pushing our Matchbox/Dinky/Corgi diecast cars around the floor by hand because there were no Hot Wheels.

Now, in 1969, a massive one hundred lap race is at hand. The orange track is 44 feet long. There are 12 half curves measuring just over 1 foot each. That’s more than 56 total feet (17 meters) of track. One hundred laps means the cars will cover more than a mile (1.6 kilometres) together. From hand pushing diecast cars to mile running in just 2 years. Simply amazing!

On this track today, I am putting a gold 2010 Ford Mustang GT with Faster Than Ever wheels up against a blue 1971 redline Six Shooter.  New school vs old school. 

For more information on this track, check out my earlier review of the Super-Charger Grand Prix Race Set (part 1).

https://hotwheelsracetracks.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/1969-hot-wheels-super-charger-grand-prix-race-set/

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Hot Wheels Store Displays

From 1968 to 1970 Mattel produced elaborate displays that were intended to showcase the Hot Wheels line-up for store customers.

This late 1968 display looks like something right out of a big car show in Los Angeles or Detroit.

Each of the “Sweet 16” cars is represented. Five of the cars have custom paint jobs just for this display. This includes a Watermelon Custom Mustang, Chocolate Brown Custom Camaro, Honey Gold Custom T-Bird, Light Blue Custom Cougar and the Ruby Red Custom Barracuda.

For 1969 three displays are offered. The first diorama shows Hot Wheels cars on a hilly coastal roadway crossing above cars that are travelling through a tunnel.

1969 Coastal hill and tunnel display. Courtesy

1969 Coastal hill and tunnel display. Courtesy http://www.hwredlines.com/menu-grp-cars/Displays/display-US-69.shtml

The second display is located in Europe, possibly Monaco, where Grand Prix race cars are being paced at the race’s start by a Maserati Mistrel. Spectators have parked their European cars nearby. A ship at water’s edge is a nice touch.

1969 European Gran Prix display. Courtesy

1969 European Gran Prix display. Courtesy http://www.redlinegrandprix.com/Redline_GP_OddsEnds.html

The third display puts us at the Daytona Motor Speedway where race cars are on the high banks of the track. In this case, spectators from a vintage car club have shown up presumably to cheer on the Classic ’57-Bird.

Close-up. Courtesy Instagram by Bruce Pascal. http://www.online-instagram.com/media/894901587630698938_1622287635

Close-up. Courtesy Instagram by Bruce Pascal. http://www.online-instagram.com/media/894901587630698938_1622287635

The 1970 Display is a ‘Multi-Mural’ diorama with a white curved sloping track.

1970 display. Courtesy

1970 display. Courtesy eBay.

The first three murals, from left to right, show a Spoiler style car, a heavyweight vehicle and a race car.

1970 display 4

Close-up left side.

The last mural on the right reveals the open road for Hot Wheels to travel on.

1970 display 3

Close-up right side.

1970 display 2

Top view – left.

1970 display 5

Top view – right.

Also, for 1970, Hot Wheels was going ‘head-to-head’ with Matchbox so in England a special store display was used.

1970 U.K. display. Courtesy

1970 U.K. display. Courtesy pinterest.com.

The English store display is an open six-tiered white grandstand made of wood.  The entire display holds 50 cars (6 rows of 8 or 9 cars each) and has a colorful backboard illustrating a Porsche 917 with the caption, “ Here’s why more Boys prefer Hot Wheels”.  Obviously a direct challenge to Matchbox whose display looked like this…

U.K. Matchbox display. Courtesy

U.K. Matchbox display. Courtesy pinterest.com

So there you have it. A look at some of the early Hot Wheels diorama displays used in stores.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

For more information you can check out http://redlinewheels.com and look under “articles”.

Hot Wheels Spin and Win

During track testing of one of my 1970 Hot Wheels Sizzlers sets, a Ford Mark IV lost control in the dual-lane Esses. The result was a full 360 degree spin. But at the end of the spin the car was pointing the right way, in the correct lane and still racing.

This reminded me of one of the great “saves” in automotive racing.

The year was 1985, the place was Indianapolis, the race was the Indy 500…

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…the drivers were Mario Andretti and Danny Sullivan. Here’s what happened on lap 120.

So there you have it. 1970 Hot Wheels Sizzlers and the 1985 Indianapolis 500; two examples of “Spin and Win”. And they’re still fast. Still. fun

Sullivan passing Andretti on the front straightaway.

Sullivan passing Andretti on the front straightaway.

The Spin.

The Win.

The Win.

Front cover of the 1985 Indy 500 Yearbook.

Front cover of the 1985 Indy 500 Yearbook.

1969 Hot Wheels Quad Jump Drag Set

As a kid, the very first Hot Wheels accessory that I received was the Jump Ramp Pak.

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Box art – front. Copyright Mattel Inc.

And I loved it! To see Hot Wheels catch big air, make a perfect landing and power down the rest of the track was too cool.

Today I am making a custom track by putting 4 jump ramps together in one drag strip.

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Of the current crop of cars, I find that ’67 Camaros work very well on jumps. They roll quickly and their metal bodies on metal bases provide enough weight for the cars to sit down and stay on the track after taking a jump.

Here are the 4 ’67 Camaros that I will be racing.

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from l to r: orange ’67 Camaro, green ’67 Camaro from the Mod Bod series, black ’67 Camaro and a yellow ’67 Camaro.

And here’s the video of what happened on the track.

So there you have it. A custom track; The 1969 Hot Wheels Quad Jump Drag Strip.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

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Close up of box art – front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

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Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

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Box art – side: Copyright Mattel, Inc.

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Box art – end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

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Box art – other end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Jump Ramp 4

Contents. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

U52-168

Italian version – front. Courtesy eBay.

Jump Ramp 2.2

Italian version – back. Courtesy eBay.